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Turkey Offers Military
Training to Iraq

By Sabrina Tavernise
and Sebnem Arsu

Turkey offered Thursday to provide military training for Iraqi security forces, an apparent effort to exert influence over an increasingly weak Iraqi state.

The offer was made during a visit to Turkey by Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq, his first since he took office in the spring. As the Iraqi government has increasingly come unraveled, American officials are considering options to try to avert an all-out civil war. Iraq’s neighbors, meanwhile, are stepping forward to secure their own place in its unstable landscape. Iran offered assistance in securing Iraq during al-Maliki’s first visit there, in September.

“We told them that we were ready to provide training for both the military and the public security forces,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said Thursday at a news conference with al-Maliki, the official Anatolian News Agency reported.

The offer, which is not the first by the Turkish government, comes at a sensitive time. One option American officials are weighing is whether to engage Iraq’s neighbors, in particular Syria and Iran, whose governments have been accused by American officials of meddling here.

Washington’s ties with Turkey are far better. But in an example of the complexity of relationships in the region, there is deep distrust for the Turkish government among Iraq’s Kurdish minority, members of which occupy powerful positions in the Iraqi government.

Turkey is worried that a complete collapse in Iraq would produce an independent Kurdish state. That would be likely to embolden Turkey’s own Kurdish minority, which has long waged a guerrilla war in its southeast.

O.J. Simpson Confesses in
Book, Publisher Says

By Edward Wyatt

The publisher of a book by O.J. Simpson, in which he hypothesizes about how he could have committed the 1994 murder of his ex-wife and her friend, said on Thursday that she believed Simpson’s statements were, in fact, a confession.

“The book is his confession,” the publisher, Judith Regan, said during a telephone interview. “I would have had no interest in publishing anything but that.” Titled “If I Did It,” the book is scheduled for release on Nov. 30. A two-part television interview of Simpson is to be broadcast on Fox on Nov. 27 and Nov. 29.

Regan acknowledged, however, that Simpson, who was acquitted of criminal charges in the slayings, did not say directly in the book or the interview that he killed his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald L. Goldman. Rather, he spoke about the murders in the hypothetical sense, a stance that admits nothing and could be viewed as a denial.

But the plans for the book, and the interviews, have created a storm of outrage from family members of the victims and from women’s groups and victims’ rights organizations.

Regan defended her decision to publish the book, which she said was spurred in part because she, like Nicole Brown Simpson, was a victim of domestic abuse. She added that she was willing to help the victims’ families recover any money that flowed to Simpson from the book.